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Go behind the curtains of S'pore's attractions

SHOW AND TELL: Learn how the team at Jurong Bird Park feed and handle birds like this macaw chick in a back-room tour. Such tours are part of STB's drive to get more residents to visit and spend at local attractions.


    Apr 11, 2014

    Go behind the curtains of S'pore's attractions

    FANCY analysing panda excrement with scientists at the River Safari, preparing food for the animals at the zoo, or attending a locker-room tour with athletes at the National Stadium at the new Singapore Sports Hub?

    These peeks into the back rooms of attractions here will be extended to the public from now till October, as part of Singapore Tourism Board's (STB's) push to attract more residents to visit local attractions and spend more there.

    Besides the behind-the-scenes tours, which cost between $25 and $39 on top of entrance fees, STB will also work with 18 local attractions to roll out promotions like discounts for entrance tickets and other events, such as an architectural tour of the National Museum of Singapore.

    These plans, announced at Jurong Bird Park yesterday, is part of Tourism50, a year-long campaign. STB was set up in 1964 as the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board and is marking 50 years of tourism development.

    The push also comes on the back of slowing tourism growth.

    A record 15.5 million tourists came here last year, but estimated year-on-year growth - 7.2 per cent - was the lowest since 2009. Year-on-year growth in visitor arrivals between 2009 and 2012 was between 9 and 19.6 per cent.

    Dr Michael Chiam, a senior lecturer of tourism at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said that drumming up local visitor numbers at attractions would constitute a new pool of revenue as "the local attractions are not cheap, people do not go often and some stop going after a while".

    "In the short run, these activities will create interest among the locals and make people want to go back again," he added.

    STB also hopes that the events and promotions will help convert locals into ambassadors of attractions here.

    The statutory board's assistant chief executive, Ms Melissa Ow, said: "We hope that locals will become advocates of Singapore's tourism and its experiences. If we manage to pique their interests, they may ask their local and foreign friends to come visit as well."

    One Singaporean who will be making her way down to some of these local attractions is Ms Adeline Phua, a secondary school teacher in her 30s.

    She said: "I will definitely go to the attractions if the activities will allow me to have a good time with the family."

    But polytechnic student Eong Rui Xuan, 20, said: "The activities are not attractive enough to make me want to go. I have been to these attractions many times and already know what is in them."

    She added: "I will go back only if there is something new, like if the zoo had a new show or animal (species)."